Risks of IPO Investing
There was a day when any kind of IPO investment in the technological world was all but guaranteed a huge profit. Some investors grabbed up public stock in companies like VA Linux and had some great first day gains. Those who invested and then sold did very well and made investing look like a very easy process. But investors were disappointed in the long run as they watched values plummet.
It is important to realize that there is no investment that is a guaranteed, sure thing. There will always be risks associated with investing. Companies like Effi Enterprises are aware of the risk factors and carefully consider the high tech companies that they offer venture capital or private investing options to. The biggest lesson many investors have learned is that the IPO market leveled out and there are not the same extreme gains to be had simply from flipping stocks. IPO’s have a huge set of very unique risks which makes them different from trading in average stock. A good example right now is the Facebook IPO. Many people grabbed up public shares and invested in the top social networking company. Stocks have risen somewhat from their initial drop but they are still about 13 percent down from where they were a short time ago. That’s not actually a bad drop compared to many companies such as Zeltiq Aesthetics who is sitting on a 65 percent decline from its initial IPO price.
People thought they could buy up some Facebook shares and watch the prices soar immediately. Basically, they took a risk and lost. IPO’s are not the best option for most investors. When a company goes public one of the main risk factors is that there has not been a trading history and so there are no analytical reports to examine. Trying to obtain information on a company that is going public is going to be difficult. Most of the time companies have traded publically and so there are lots of analysts which have done their homework. These reports can at least reveal some of the problems they have encountered.
Purpose of an Underwriter
Many times a company which is going public does not have a strong underwriter. This of course, does not mean that investment banks never produce a dud, but generally quality brokerages will be bringing only quality companies public. It is very risky to choose companies who are represented by smaller brokerages because they are many times willing to underwrite any company at all. A larger investment firm can be more selective about which companies it underwrites than a small underwriter can. However, the smaller broker can make it a lot easier for private investing since it’s much easier to purchase IPO shares.
Read the Prospectus
It is important to read a company’s prospectus. But keep in mind that this is not done by an outside party, it is written from within the company so it is not necessarily as reliable as a third party analysis. You will need to note the risks and opportunities as they are presented by the company. You will want to know why they are going IPO. If the money raised by IPO is going to repay loans or to buy equity from private investing, stay clear. However, if it is going toward marketing, expansions or research it is usually a good sign.
This does not mean that IPOs are all bad. There have been many success stories over the years. There are some very successful companies that go public every single month, however, it can be very difficult to sift through it all and find the investment opportunities with the most potential. Efraim Landa works with companies who are going public to help ensure each party’s success.